tv [untitled] January 11, 2012 8:01am-8:31am PST
i don't think you ever claim the basement out. >> i would really like to thank you. you have been on the short list of being honored by this commission for quite some time. on behalf of all the families, i raised my child in san francisco, and i think we hear a lot about how san francisco isn't family friendly. i challenge them to go to cliffs. we regularly shop there for birthdays, parties, leading gifts, housewares. you have everything and it is really a true neighborhood serving hardware store that is also such a great community resources. on behalf of my family and all the families, thank you for your work.
>> i have to take my glasses off for this one. san francisco small business commission honors class variety of monday, december 12, 2011. we are proud to and knowledge the contributions that cliffs has made to the vitality of san francisco. in a family owned and operated business over the past 75 years. the company has grown from a library and magazine exchange to the harbor store that is today, supplying products for persons of all interests. in the store has been an icon and a fixture in the cash district. and and the store is run by ernie and martha austin. their daughter, too. they donate proceeds to the
civil rights academy, the emergency fund, the rainbow honor walked and other community interests. the commission wishes cliff's success for many years to come. >> we would like to invite you to say a few words to the commission. >> we appreciate this honor and everything you are doing for small businesses in san francisco. thank you very much. >>-she is being a little too modest. and how many people are employed? 40 employees, i think that is really an accomplishment in san francisco at this time.
congratulations again. >> item 3, approval of the september 12, 2011 minutes. the document and draft. president o'brien: do we have a motion to approve? hong >>-mo>> i move. >> i second. president o'brien: no objections, the motion passes. >> approval of the october 3, 2011 minutes. president o'brien: do we have a motion? >> i move. >> second. president o'brien: everybody in favor? >> item 5, general public comment.
they can comment within the commission's per view and suggest items for future consideration. president o'brien: anybody that would like to speak? seeing none, public comment is closed. next item. >> presentation, discussion, and possible action regarding planning code legitimization provisions in the eastern neighborhoods plan. presentation by brett gladstone. president o'brien: give a very, very quick preamble to this. i met with brett last week and he told me that this is an issue affected by the eastern neighborhoods zoning that has gone on in the recent past. i will not get into the details of it because he is going to do that, but it was clear to me that this is a matter that
definitely impacts small businesses are one way or the other, negatively or positively. it seems to me most likely negatively, but i will let the commission come to its own conclusions. i arranged to have this put on the agenda. i would like for everybody to weigh in on it. please come forward. >> commissioners, there is a memo from the planning department in case you need to reference it as well. >> my name is brett gladstone. good evening. is that memo available to the public? no worries. thank you for honoring ernie and clifford. he and i are jazz musicians, and
we played together sometimes. it is about time, thank you for honoring that wonderful place. during the eight years that the supervisor was on the board of supervisors, there was a big move to zone the eastern neighborhoods to change the zoning that allowed for almost any kind of use, who only industrial use. the reasoning was that the board wanted the light and heavy industries to have a chance to come back into the city when they wanted to. and they would have a place. so from january 19 of 2009 ford, host of the district that formally allowed office, retail, and housing were changed to allow industrial only. any property owners that
conducted what looks like an office use, after that time, it didn't have permits to be there. the office will have to relocate. i and others asked the board of supervisors to consider some kind of a three-year delay, an amnesty period. people could come to the planning department and say, we don't have permits, please let us legalize. the problem was that although that time was established ending this january, the planning department and the board of supervisors created a fee when people apply to legalize. if you have 100,000 square feet, one person does have that. we're talking about a fee of $1.5 million. the planning department and the
board of supervisors said the money was needed to cure the harm that is the physical, social, and economic harm by office users in industrial neighborhoods. i wasn't clear what the harm was. some people thought it was a penalty and the people on board were not business and client. the planning department in determining whether a user can show that an alteration permit issued for office to non- office, the planning department will surprisingly take the position that almost all the permits won't be recognized ibm. planning takes the position that it has a certain criteria for how the permits should have looked 20 or 30 years ago before the planners were out of school. they are judged by those standards in the planning department.
obviously, that is a huge economic burden. the planning department wants all of the boxes to be filled out correctly in their view, notwithstanding what the building department does. the deadline for this legalization is january 19, 2012. the planning department have announced that only one dozen property owners have come in the last three years to legalize. some say there are 750 to 1000 buildings in question. there are 7000 lots in question, we know that. maybe 1000 buildings of this nature. maybe 1000 or more small businesses. had the fact that we had 12 people applying says a lot about how this process is not working, how the notification was not done correctly. some progressive activists have office users to move downtown,
to leave to wherever it is, leaving the space for heavy industry even though there is no need right now. the progressive activists have long been looking for the january 19, 2012, as they can start making complaints to the planning department and ask them to visit these places to check the permits of the small businesses that are there and see if the permits show office in the eyes of the planning department. the planning department must respond even if they don't want to. once the planning department starts the enforcement process, we will see businesses relocate and property owners be unable to get financing to make improvements. the lenders will know about this, orders of abatement go on to buildings. given these difficult economic times and the upcoming deadline,
i think it is a very good time to rethink the whole process. that requires a steady. there is an economic connection that the board of supervisors found, they found harm. they thought the $12 was feasible in 2007 when everything was leaving. we need to look at whether these fees are good. should there be 10 years to pay them? should they be paid at all? these are very complex issues. the planning department is thinking of 90 days. we urge you to urge the board of supervisors who might be taking this up the first week of january, to delay this for a year and secondly, how to urge them that during the delay, these issues be studied. with that, i will let victor, and testify.
>> my name is victor and i am one of the owners of life enterprises the uns this building approximately 150,000 square feet. during the ownership since 1973, dozens of permits for the building have been approved by the building department for conversion from the former office and warehouse to the current building use, much of which is office use. i have six small businesses that are tense and i also run a small business. my business does not want to relocate downtown or to move to oakland. the others feel the same way. permits were obtained by contractors including many who were hired directly. i require them to alert me for when alterations are needed and
when they are not. imagine my surprise to learn after rezoning that no longer allows office that the planning department takes a totally different point of view than the building department. they say they do not recognize any of the permits as creating office space and for me to legalize what i have, the feed that i must pay as over $1 million. it is calculated on a square foot basis and i must pay a fee of up to 12050 cents per square foot. that is at least $1.5 million. the ownership and that he does not have that kind of money since the building does not fall under the average. i cannot get that money from my tenants that are struggling themselves. hunting money to owners to pay fees like that are risky since the money is not to be used to modernize the buildings. lenders have loan compliance
that are much more stringent than before. the window for a knowledge into the planning department that i will pay these fees closes january 19, 2012. some members are considering giving a nine-day extension to allow latecomers to get in their paperwork. what is really needed is a rethinking of the process. the economy of the city is different from 2007. they are not accurate today. the fees are supposed to make up for the harm and allowing office uses to continue to exist in these districts. and have never understood the harm, and this needs to be looked at again. what is good for small business is good for the city. when the city department challenges the permit approved by other city departments, it needs to be rethought. how are small businesses and property owners going to rely on anything in the permit process
when one department can challenge the permits issued by another department decades later? there are complex issues that need studying. a year is not too long a period please make a recommendation to the supervisors that there be a one-year delay and that there be a detailed study on the entire procedure. president o'brien: over two commissioners. you will be able to participate in public comment. and you want to hear public comment first? >> is up to you. you can do if first or you can ask questions of the presenting sponsor and then go and the public comment. >> we have one person, i would like to hear.
president o'brien: we will go straight to public comment and you will be able to ask questions. members of the public, it will be limited to three minutes. >> my name is arnold artola. i am one of, as it happens, victor's tenants. if this goes ahead, i'm afraid this will affect the renewal of the leases that we have had. we use a business and office space. i am struck by the words that i hear about harm to san francisco because of the way the spacing is used. as a small-business owner, what i have had is seven partners and 300 employees. these people all live and work, for the most part, in san francisco. we feel that we are a san
francisco company. we do a lot of our business in san francisco, but not just this issue, there have been others that have come along the way that are making it harder and harder to stay. this might raise the overhead and will be the one issue that could push us out of the city. i don't mean to make this sound like it should be this way are we are going to leave, this is a real issue that comes with every day when i go to work and have to worry about the people that work for me and how i maintain the company to pay the employees and pay the overhead of the business. my concern is that this neighborhood is of vital allies. it has different kind of businesses, some offices. i see shops, restaurants, i have seen, since we have been there,
the neighborhood revitalized and changed. any kind of mood to shift it away from where it is becoming as in a negative light. president o'brien: thank you. commissioner clyde: i know we can't ask questions of people who comment in public comment, but since the landlord of the building is here, i have a question about pdr. the, the eastern neighborhood plan rezoned to allow heavy industry, it was my understanding that the part of the eastern neighborhood is rezoned to prioritize production distribution and repair. i know that i would believe that in a catering company would fall into the production and distribution category as you are
a food producer when you are distributing the products. as a catering company -- and i have some questions about that. >> is a separate building. >> commissioner clyde, can i make one correction? you may ask follow-up questions to the member of the public. commissioner clyde: do you mind? i would like to get into this a little bit. >> in general public comment, you can't bring them back out. but you can ask follow-up questions to what was presented. commissioner clyde: do you have the gist of my question? >> of the space we are talking about -- commissioner clyde: how many space in that building?
>> 10,000 square feet. commissioner clyde: is that your entire office? >> for my company, yes . we have kitchens and a separate building and another building we keep equipment in. commissioner clyde: the kitchens are here. >> that is in a separate building. commissioner clyde: do you own your own fleet of trucks? >> eight trucks. there are located in south san francisco and we keep three at the kitchens to move food. we don't move any product from the space. kitchens are 6000 square feet. commissioner clyde: operations in one building, kitchens are at another building.
>> i would say that that space, it has a relatively low employment space because it is full of equipment and the people that work on that space come from san francisco. they get the equipment and moved it around. just anticipating, i would say 65%-80% of my business in san francisco. commissioner clyde: 100% of those employees are in san francisco. >> there is probably 10 employees they you will recall not sent to it is employees because they maintain the south san francisco warehouse. >> be you have air rough idea about how many of those are living in san francisco? >> about 60% or 70%.
most of the people working under the san francisco uphehelp edition -- what happens, the majority of people that work in catering don't drive cars, for example. they are students or other things. your caterer. -- you're never a caterer. commissioner clyde: what i am getting at with my line of questioning, supporting your business and this industry by extension because you are not the only caterer located in this neighborhood. area. that in and of itself is arguing rethinkfor a rethink of
program. you need office functions supporting it. we really do need to look more comprehensively or closely on how the business has grown up organically to support it. it is a very valuable company. >> when we first started in this neighborhood, which has grown around us. quite frankly, we started there because there is nothing there. it is an interesting neighborhood that i think should be looked at by the planning commission to make it one designation. what i see is a very vital thing with people working on the street and in different kinds of businesses.
i think you would see that if you've visited -- a good example would be the growth of small restaurants and coffee shops. and the interaction you see between people that work in the neighborhood, the people that live in the neighborhood. it is a very interesting group and the backs of people. commissioner clyde: -- and mix of people. commissioner clyde: thank you for pointing that out. anytime you relocate, and has an impact on the walking distance businesses. >> what is the intersection of -- at 16th? >> florida. i am sincere and the fact that we love being there. i love being in san francisco. everything we just talked about, part of the reasons why we are there. i like because of where we are
in the neighborhood. it is something that cannot be overlooked. commissioner dooley: just about the timeline of how this rolled out, what is the notification process over the three years? >> three months after the zoning took place january 19th of 2009, the planning department sent out a letter for all property owners. it was about 7000, they told me. it has been rezoned, uses without permits. there is a legitimization program. i saw that, and number of clients and said, what is this.
unfortunately, it was drafted by attorneys. it is sort of an occupational hazard. a lot of people really didn't make sense of it. it also went to property managers whose addresses a were -- i went to the director of planning about six months ago. i suggested that other notification be sent out to those people. if it wasn't something to me that was really clear. i heard from a lot of people that a lot of them were sent back to wrong addresses. he used the same mailing list.
that was the process. the address is not correct, there were multiple property owners, there was no effort to do that. the property owners, some of them don't pay as much attention as the tenants that are more affected if they are out of town property owners. it is basically the notification. >> i was curious how the rollout will be for you, i assume you have been working on this much longer than just a month ago. can you tell me more about that? >> i have several clients, and one is the property at sixteenth
street. starting a few years ago, i combed through permistts and plans. i found some show a clear intent to clear office out of industrial. the proposed use warehouse slash office. a look at the plans and there was a whole floor of the warehouse that was empty, without partition and suddenly creates partitions in for spaces along walls and a passenger elevator. i look at this and brought it to planning, and the word office appears somewhere in the plans. a wrote a letter to planning a year ago showing this permit and saying that this one, the space doesn't need to pay the fees.